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Scroll down below the Viola to see the
8-String Hardanger Viola D' Amore
I started this project in January 2020
and finished it in 2021.
Just photos for now.
More details and a video/sound sample
This is the 11th Hardanger Fiddle type instrument I've made. Made my first one in 1990.
Each one has a theme: This one was inspired by the Jeffers Petroglyphs in Cottonwood County.
The top is carved from a piece of Redwood and the drawings were done with soft lead pencil.
And of course, to start it off with the center of the world. Everyone knows it rides on the back of a Great Turtle
The Horse head peghead is carved from a piece of Redwood.
It took me way too long to carve it,
so maybe that's why the horse turned out not looking too happy!
All 8 of the tuners are 'Knilling's Perfection Planetary Geared Tuning Pegs'.
These are a truly miraculous invention, and make tuning the strings so incredibly easy,
I'll NEVER use friction tuning pegs Ever again!!!
The neck, back and sides are made of
highly figured maple, and stained a nice
deep reddish brown
The inlay on the fingerboard are carved from clam shells I found along the nearby
These designs are inspired from the rock carvings at Jeffers petroglyphs.
(From top to bottom)
The Sun above
and Great Spirit below.
A Thunder Storm is next,
with a Thunder Bird below
Next is a Shaman figure, falling leaf and a Snapping Turtle in the Cattails.
The designs along the edge of the top are drawn in with a soft lead pencil.
Here are two stylized Hawks in a somewhat 'Celtic' design, something extra I added in since I am certainly not Native American.
And of course, there just has to be Snakes, Plains Top Minnows and Bullheads included.
And the carved Buffalo Skull in the tailpiece
was a necessity too.
The 4 under-strings run under the hollow finger board. The nut is raised like a bridge for the strings to go underneath.
The 4 under-strings run through the bridge itself, between an open gap. This is a new design of my own making to make it much easier to change strings or adjust the bridge.
Right side view of the carved peg head
The case is made of carved Pine 2X4's and Plywood, all stained Merlot.
The inside of the case is padded with foam and blue felt, with two bow holders and a small hinged compartment box.
I don't have a price tag or video/sound sample yet, but hopefully those will be coming
some time soon.
Here's the Arpeggione.
For about 30 years now I've had an old dead headless Cello stashed away down in the basement, so last Winter I decided it was finally time to bring it back to life. I made a new head and neck, a fret board, new bridge and tailpiece. It wasn't as easy as I though it would be, but it worked!
The face plate is stained Walnut brown.
The tuners are the same as I've been using for years now: Affordable but really top quality individual Guitar tuners.
The fret board is made of
Hard Rock Curly Maple stained brown.
The radius is an outrageous 4 degrees (!) and yes you actually Can bend hard nickel medium sized Guitar frets that far.
(There 's a trick to it, but it can be done)
The top is made of 4 pieces of carved cedar or pine. (Herd to tell) But you can plainly see 3 distinct lines running thru it all.
The body was made in Chicago
and has several nicks and dings along the edges and it was apparently not a 'top-of-the-line' model, but it has a really surprisingly nice tone.
The head and neck are made of hard rock
The back is made from 2 especially nice pieces of Curly Maple.
The nut is made of Ebony.
With 4 under-strings running under
the fret board.
The bridge is made of Maple with 6 Ebony inserts under each top string, and has a new design for easy removal: Now the under-strings can simply be removed thru the gap in the lower part of the bridge.
No more re-stringing all of them to remove the bridge for maintenance or repair!
And it works too! The under-strings give off a nice resonant harmonic when the top strings are bowed or plucked.
The Maple bridge is stained Merlot.
The tail piece is made of Curly Maple stained brown to match the fret board and head stock.
It is held on with a bent coat hanger.
The 4 loop-end under-strings run thru the nut and are attached to a piece of fret wire.
The strings are D'Addario Chromes
Electric Guitar strings
There is a price tag of
Now on display and for sale at
Groth Music in Bloomington, Minnesota.
I have a video/sound sample, but it will be a little while before that is up.
(Keep checking in)
10 - String Viking Hardanger Viola.
I made this about a year ago now, so it has had plenty of time to settle in.
The carved Dragon figure-head is made of
All of the tuners are Knilling Perfection Planetary Geared Viola Pegs.
(Which makes the tuning of the under-strings shockingly easy!)
l'll NEVER use friction tuners again!!!
The inlay in the Walnut finger board is made of Clamshells from the Watonwan River.
5 Bowed strings on top with
5 under-strings down below.
The Redwood top is decorated with Scandinavian designs in pencil.
And of course includes Thor's two most famous Ravens: Hugin & Munin.
The Walnut tailpiece has a clamshell
Viking in between two Sea Dragons.
(Our grand child calls it the 'Viking Stormtrooper')
The ends of the understrings are attached directly to an Ebony block at the end of the body, thus relieving pressure on the tailpiece.
In the past, I've had some trouble with the bridge tilting forward over time, but I am pleased to report, that even after a year, this bridge is still as straight up and down as the day I strung it up!
The peghead, neck, body and sides are made of highly figured Maple stained a nice deep burgundy wine colored Marlot.
The depth of the side ribs are
1 - 3/4 inch deep.
One thing you might want to know:
Because I used some fairly heavy hardwood for the inside neck and tail blocks,
The total weight of the instrument itself weighs
2 pounds 8.2 ounces.
The top and sides of the case are made of carved Pine 2x4's stained Merlot...
...with a Leather strap and brass
hinges and hardware.
The inside is padded with foam and blue felt.
A small hinged compartment case
The back is made of a nice
piece of plywood.
(There will be another one of these real soon)
The FiddleHarpa is also for sale!
And will also be available for inspection at the Nisswa Stammen in June, too.
(Scroll down the page a little way
for all the details)
The Nyckelharpa (or "Keyed Fiddle") is the national folk
instrument of Sweden.
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